Monday, April 28, 2014

The Fertile Coconut

This post might be all over the place because I'm kind of all over the place.  I think I'll start with the sad stuff first (which is not pregnancy related) and then go into my Indian baby shower.

Over the weekend, I was out at my in-laws' place and Saturday was so busy I wound up not getting to check in with Dad, but my sister talks to him most days too, so I knew she'd let me know if there was an issue.  On Sunday I found out that Dad has been having some trouble with urination (as in, feels like he has to go, not much happens).  It was very bad Friday night into Saturday morning, to the point where he thought about going to the ER, but then it resolved and he felt better.  Today when I talked to him, he sounded pretty down.  He's going for chemo tomorrow, and he'll talk to the doctor about what happened and about getting it checked out.  We're both concerned that it's his pelvic tumor, perhaps applying pressure to his bladder or urethra.  It's hard, knowing that you're dying, and I know that it makes Dad sad, especially when he thinks about his family.  Yesterday I felt terribly sad thinking about the reality of losing Dad in the near future.  I kept thinking "I'll be all alone, I won't have a family anymore."  I know this isn't true - that I have my husband and (hopefully in 7 weeks) my son, loving friends, and despite how different we are, my sister.  And I realize it's kind of whiny to be talking about "what about meeeee????" when someone else is dealing with the reality of his or her death, but I think it's probably normal when it's your parents.  I just wish we had more time.  I wish it weren't happening now.  I guess that would always be the case, but now feels like just the worst.  For so many reasons.

After I got off the phone with Dad, I found out that a good friend of my mom's from where she used to work died yesterday.  He was a really nice man.  I'm sad for him and his family, but I also just feel sad in general because it's one more person who knew and loved my mom who's gone.  I hate that.  My parents had me kind of late - Mom was almost 40 and Dad was nearly 43.  If you're having your kids later, or you know what, just in general - take care of yourself.  Try to eat healthy and get your colonoscopies and exercise and quit smoking.  Try to be around for a long time for your kids.  They want you around.


So, it was my Indian baby shower on Saturday.  I kept calling it that because I didn't know the actual name for it, and neither did Jeeves.  I think it's actually referred to as Godh Bharai, though different parts of India have different names for it.  Unfortunately, early last week I came down with a nasty cold (thank you, co-worker, who is always sick and never ever stays home when he's sick and coughs and snots all over the place.... I really appreciate the gift).  I took it really easy at the end of last week so I'd feel okay on Saturday, but Saturday rolled around and I still felt like turds.  My doctor warned me that in pregnancy, colds tend to last longer.  Fun.  Adding to the fun on Saturday - Jeeves had a fender bender (not while I was in the car, and no one got hurt) and our nephew A (age 5) discovered an engorged tick in his head.  Despite all this, the Godh Bharai was really, really fun and everyone had a good time.

My mother-in-law did not give me a hard time at all about what I wanted to wear, probably because she was so busy with other party preparations.  I decided to wear one of my own dresses, but paired it with a very pretty scarf she brought back for me from Calcutta, a necklace she got me, and then I borrowed some bangles from her (very large) collection.  She seemed really happy with the final look.  The next day I tried on the one Indian top I have that she thought would still fit - she was right, it does still fit me.  But it's a lot more casual than what I wore for the baby shower, so I think it worked out for the best (and I promised to wear the Indian top to the rehearsal dinner for Jeeves' uncle's wedding in two weeks).

As for the ceremony itself, it went the way most other ceremonies go and I felt pretty chill about the whole thing even though I don't love being the center of attention.  Here's the basket I had to hold on my lap - a little blurry.  Ammie told me that the coconut in the center represents my fertility and my womb.

Jeeves asked me what it represented and I told him and we had a good snicker about that and whether the coconut was defective.  It reminded me of a bib Wendy gave me that says "Home Grown" on it.  I remarked to her, "Home Grown.... and with the assistance of the lab technician who washed my husband's sperm, and the doctor who injected it through the catheter into my uterus."  Anyway, Ammie did her part of the ceremony and she cried, because she always cries at these things.  Then the other women present bestowed blessings on me and Manuji.  It was nice.  Then we ate!

The only downside to the evening was that I felt pretty crummy from this cold.  By Sunday, I felt even worse because I just can't sleep in strange beds anymore - I have to sleep in my bed, with my memory foam mattress pad, and my pillow fort.  My in-laws sent me home with a jar of crushed ginger and strict instructions to steep the ginger in hot water and drink three cups a day.  I have to add a lot of honey to it, but it does seem to help loosen my cough.

And now a funny story about my nephew, A, who is very excited about his new cousin.  You may recall that A is the one who came up with the name "Manuji" in the first place (and I should add that he's kind of sad that we're not actually naming the baby Manuji).  He really wanted to see Manuji moving, and when the little fetus finally did move a bunch for A, he shrieked and ran to tell his mother.  Later on, I mentioned that Manuji was head down, A poked my boob and said, "Are these his feet?"  I wish, kid.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Resolve to know more.... about the risks we take

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) and last year during NIAW, I read a lot about infertility (I was in the middle of IUI#3) but I wasn't blogging at that point.  So it felt important to me to blog about it this year.  Resolve, the organization that educates and advocates regarding infertility, set the topic this year as "resolve to know more...."  So here's my stab at it.

I'm a big fan of the sitcom Parks & Recreation.  I'm going to give away a couple of big plot points from this season, so consider yourself warned if you don't want to know.  The protagonist, Leslie (Amy Poehler), is married to Ben.  They make a sweet couple.  Anyway, Leslie is 39 years old and a few weeks ago she found out she's pregnant.  They weren't really trying, but they're very excited.  Whatever, I was fine with that.  I always feel like it might be nice to see a semi-realistic portrayal of infertility on a TV show, but I realize not every show has to address every issue.  And yeah, yeah - Sex & the City covered it, and How I Met Your Mother glossed over it, and Friends took a stab at it too.  But two of those shows addressed the issue over 10 years ago, and the other one (HIMYM) spent one episode on it.

So, Leslie and Ben go for an ultrasound and discover much to their shock that Leslie is pregnant with triplets.  Sigh.  Okay, show, I get it.  This is funny!  Ha ha!  Except I just basically got enraged.  Yes, triplets do happen naturally.  But the vast majority of triplets happen thanks to assisted reproductive technology (ART).  In fact, 77% of triplets or higher order multiples are due to ART (New England Journal of Medicine).  On the show, the characters freak out about the amount of money having three kids at once is going to cost, but not once does anyone mention that Leslie is only 5'2" and carrying triplets comes with a lot of risks - for both her and the babies.  No one mentions that 91% of triplets are born preterm, no one mentions the health issues those kids will probably face at birth, no one mentions that there is a decent likelihood that she won't have three live children at the end of this pregnancy.

I realize it's a sitcom and no one wants to talk about the scary stuff.  So why am I all bent out of shape about this?  Why does it bother me?  Because Parks & Rec's portrayal is just another squandered opportunity to have a conversation about the risks we take to have children, and how in this country, I feel like our risks are heightened because we don't provide coverage or support for infertility.  And I think part of that is just based on general ignorance.  What do we know, as a society, about ART?  We know crazy Octomom and we know John and Kate Plus 8.  [Seriously guys, I realized how little most people know about ART when explaining to my dad and sister, two well-educated people, the difference between IUI and IVF].  And a few sitcoms.  Terrible, and not representative.  

When I was in college, I got to see the late great Ann Richards give a speech about women in politics.  She made what was, for me, the best argument you can make as to why we should all want more women (and for that matter, more people of color and other minorities) at the political table.  She told a story about how, in Texas, for a long time women could not open a bank account or get a credit card without having their husband or father co-sign.  The law didn't get repealed until a woman was elected and pointed out the existence of this old, stupid law to her male colleagues.  The point is that we all bring different experiences to the table and the only way we can learn is if we have a diverse table.  I feel the same way about infertility - most people are going to know bupkis about infertility and how it gets resolved.  The only way they are going to know about it is we keep telling them about it.

So here's what I think non-infertiles should know about the risks we take:

  • Many of us risk all our savings (this is true for people pursuing ART and adoption, because no, neither of those things are free or cheap) for a shot at having a child.  And this is one of those things that drive me crazy about "just adopt" - okay, sure, I'll swing by the orphanage or a Walmart and pick up a kid on my way home.  Adoption is not free, even if you decide to go through the state foster care system.  If you decide to do private adoption, it's very expensive.  In many cases, more expensive than paying out-of-pocket for ART.
  • We have to endure a lot of tests to try to get to the bottom of our infertility.  Some of those tests are painful.  And they all seem to take forever.  Some states require that insurance pay for those tests, but most states do not.  So if you've been trying for over a year to have a baby and it hasn't worked and your general practitioner or gynecologist suggests you get some tests done?  There's a good chance you'll have to pay for that.
  • Once we get to the point where we're in treatment, we are usually taking scary meds that give us shitty side effects.  The ultimate physical toll of those meds is still not entirely known.  
  • The majority of twins are born to fertiles, and are not a result of ART.  That being said, the reason a lot of women will decide to put in 2 embryos (or 3 in some cases) is because this shit is expensive and the success rate, even for younger women, is kind of low.  Like, a third of women under the age of 34 will have success on the first try.  LOW.  So if you've just sunk your savings into this, you want to make sure you have the best odds of it working and that might mean more than one embryo being transferred.  Don't get me wrong, I think twins are awesome.  But we all tend to think about how hard twins will be after they are born without thinking about how hard it is to actually carry and deliver healthy twins.  Never mind triplets (you won't frequently hear crazy stories like Octomom because that shit is a total anomaly with a quack doctor who put in so many embryos that he lost his license to practice medicine - it makes me crazy that this is what so many people think all of ART is.).

I realize that we're probably never going to be like most of Europe where a lot of ART is covered.  But it bothers me.  It bothers me that we support women once they get pregnant (and woohoo - my Obamacare mandated insurance-covered breast pump arrived yesterday!), but we don't support them when they can't get pregnant.  And we don't support them when they can get pregnant, but they suffer from recurrent pregnancy loss.  Those women are scary and make us sad and we wish they'd all just go away or just be okay with the fact that they can't have kids.  Or just adopt!  Just adopt already!  Adoption is a great way to resolve infertility, true, but anyone who has known someone who has adopted would know you can never put the word "just" in front of adoption.  

You want to know what would be an even better way to resolve infertility?  For all of us to have choices.  We get to make a lot of choices when we're sick.  But when we're infertile, our choices are limited, not because there aren't a lot of options for us out there.  We're limited because it will depend on our financial situation, what state we live in, the job we work in.  It won't just be based on our diagnosis and our own deeply held beliefs about if and how we want to grow our family.  It will be based on the risks we are willing and able to take.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The last birthday, Easter, and pregnancy update

Yesterday was my 36th birthday.  Hard to believe I am 36, I don't feel that old.  But there it is.  Normally, turning 36 would make me really sad.  I got really sad when I turned 26 (which, God, Meg, so stupid.  Being 26 is young and awesome).  I was like that quote from High Fidelity (the movie, not the book) - "Only people of a certain disposition are sure they're going to be alone for the rest of their lives at age 26, and we were of that disposition."  But really, what had bummed me out about turning 26 was the idea that I was closer to 30 than 20, and that seemed sad to me.  So I sort of assumed I would feel the same about 36 (closer to 40 than 30).  I think, maybe, if I weren't pregnant, I would have been sad.  And look, there are still a lot of things that I wish I had accomplished by this age that I have not accomplished.  But I'm feeling pretty chill about all of it.  Sort of like, "eh, I'll get there, who cares if it takes a little more time to own my own home or have a career as a librarian?"

For my birthday last year, we had just wrapped up a failed 2nd IUI cycle, and I was taking Clomid for my 3rd cycle.  I hoped against hope that it would be my last birthday without our baby.  It wasn't, this one is.  As my cousin, who after years of recurrent pregnancy loss, infertility, and IVF, is full term with her rainbow twins and could pop any day now, said, "I love all the 'lasts.'"  Last birthday before Manuji is born.  It feels pretty great.  I still have fear that something is going to go terribly wrong and we'll lose him, but I've gotten pretty good and pushing that aside and just appreciating these final weeks.

So, my birthday fell on Easter and we went to visit Dad out in Jersey.  He's doing much better than he was a month ago, and that made me very happy, although I don't think he's ever going to be as physically able as he was a year ago.  He wound up getting rid of the home health aide.  What can I say, I tried my best.  He's an adult and he gets to make his own decisions.  But at least for now he seems to be tolerating his treatment well and he's doing his physical therapy and eating.  Jeeves and I had a really nice day with him, and on our way back to the City, we stopped at Dairy Queen and I got to have a blizzard.  Happy.

Next weekend is my Indian baby shower.  That's what I'm calling it, but it's not actually a baby shower. There's some sort of ceremony, the details of which I am hazy on (Ammie, my MIL, is not the best at describing these things ahead of time).  There will be food, and a bunch of people, and stuff like that.  When Ammie started talking about doing this, I told Jeeves that I absolutely refuse to wear Indian clothes for it.  When Jeeves and I got engaged years ago, Ammie was heading to India for a visit and she wanted to know if I would maybe be interesting in having her pick up some Indian clothing for me for some pre-wedding events, and to wear at other Indian occasions.  That sounded awesome - Indian clothes are so pretty!  My sister-in-law, who never ever lets my MIL buy her clothing, pulled me aside and told me that I should be careful because I needed to set boundaries.  I was like, "What are you talking about?"  Oh, I learned.  The thing is, Ammie does not have any daughters or granddaughters.  She has only one niece in the United States, and that niece hates Indian clothing.  Over the years, I have basically turned into a life-size dress up doll for my MIL.  It's kind of sweet.  But it can also be annoying because you know what?  Indian clothing can be really uncomfortable!  Also, I'm an adult and being a dress up doll can become tiresome.  I now have more Indian outfits than occasions to wear them.  Also, absolutely none of them could possibly fit me at this point.  So I told Jeeves, "I am absolutely not wearing Indian clothes for this thing."  Then I was talking to Ammie on Friday and she said, "So you'll get dressed up for this party in Indian clothes."  [Notice it's a statement, not a question.]  I explained that I didn't think they would fit, but I have lots of comfortable and cute maternity dresses.  "Oh, at least a couple of them will fit.  It'll be fine.  You'll wear one of the Indian outfits."  Sigh.  There are things that I really dig my heels in on with her (the whole setting boundaries thing) but usually I let her have her way with the clothing stuff because it seems like such a small thing and it makes her so happy.  But I just can't this time.  I want to wear my own, comfortable clothes.  Wish me luck.

Pregnancy stuff ahead, so feel free to skip it if you're not up for this sort of stuff.

Tomorrow I am 32 weeks.  Time is flying.  OB appointment this week, and we're meeting our prospective pediatrician.  I decided to do that thing today where you list stuff about your pregnancy.  

How far along: 31 weeks, 6 days

EDD: June 17th

How big is baby?: According to The Bump, he's a squash.  I have a hard time with this because what kind of squash?  Butternut?  Pumpkin?  Spaghetti?  Kabocha?  The picture of the squash looks like a weird gourd.  Anyway, they say he's 15.2 to 16.7 inches, and weighs around 2.5 to 3.8 lbs.

Total weight gain: Around 23 pounds.  I gained nothing my first trimester thanks to all my issues.  I've made up for it since then.  

Maternity clothes: Obvi.  That's pretty much all I wear.  My PJs are still normal PJs, but that's only because they were already elastic waist.

Belly button: On the verge of becoming an outie.  Like, it could be any day now.

Rings: I can still wear them, but when the weather is warmer, my hands definitely are swelling.  So we'll see how much longer I can keep the rings on.

Sleep: Continues to suck.  I haven't slept on my stomach since January, and I have to have a pillow fort to keep my hips from killing me when I wake up.  I get up to pee 2 to 3 times per night, and I'm usually up every couple of hours to flip over onto my other side because I start aching if I don't.  It's good practice for when Manuji is here, I know, and I've gotten pretty used to the routine, so it's not so bad.

Symptoms: Acid reflux (it's not so bad right now) and heart palpitations (also not so bad).  Can't get up off the floor without assistance.  I have to change positions, whether sitting, lying down, whatever, every few minutes because I quickly become uncomfortable.  Frequently tired.  I pee a lot, of course.  Sciatica pain if I bend over too frequently.  And the biggy - shortness of breath.

Cravings/Aversions: Aversions ended with the first trimester.  Cravings.... ice cream, all the time.  Macaroni and cheese.  Citrus fruit and citrusy flavored things.  Watermelon.  Chocolate/peanut butter as a combo.  Peanut butter, period.  Kale salads (that's pretty much the only really healthy thing that I get excited about now).  Cheese.  I'm also starting to really, really miss certain things, like sushi, smoked salmon, prosciutto, etc.  And giant iced coffees.  Oh yeah, sure, I miss wine too.  But not as much as I miss smoked salmon.  On a bagel with cream cheese and onions.

Movement: Oh, all the time.  I've been feeling Manuji since about week 17.  I learned later that he has a posterior placenta, so it makes sense that I could feel him so early and that his movements have been pretty strong from early on.  I'm not sure yet if he's head down, but he likes to poke around in my ribs and other organs which feels weird.  And he makes my whole belly move.  He's not crazy active when I'm sleeping, but the moment I'm up in the morning, he thinks it's party time.  Honestly, it's an enormous relief, to always have that reassurance that he's okay.  He gets the hiccups a lot too.

Coming Attractions: I'm on biweekly OB visits now, doing the rounds and meeting all of the OBs in the practice since you never know who will be on call the day you go into labor.  At my week 36 appointment I will have my first ultrasound in a long time to make sure that Manuji is head down and check his growth.  I'm nervous about it, but it's still a ways off.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The dirt patch

This weekend was a good reminder for me of a) how far we've come; and b) that I'm still an infertile in my heart and mind.  It was a big weekend!  We took our birthing class!  It was very helpful, and also pretty scary.  I guess I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about the actual physical pain of childbirth.  This is pretty lame, but I think I spent more time obsessing over how painful the HSG would be (and in the end, it was not so bad) back when I was having my infertility tests than I did over how painful labor would be.  Anyway, we watched several videos in this class showing women in labor.  Obviously pain is a subjective experience, but it's very different for a friend to tell you "it really hurt" than it is to watch a woman in the midst of labor and think "that looks really painful."

So, one of the things that happened in birthing class was that we all went around the room and introduced ourselves, talked about pregnancies, where we were delivering, etc.  There were 8 couples, including us.  I feel fairly confident that Jeeves and I were the only infertile couple in the room.  Not entirely sure why I'm so convinced, some of the couples said things that an infertile would not say, some of them seemed very young (not like I don't know plenty of young people struggling with infertility, but they seemed like such reproductive novices by certain things that they said).  Oh, and one of the couples didn't know she was pregnant till she was 14 weeks.  So yeah, definitely not an infertile.  I guess that makes sense that we would be the only infertiles - after all, it's 1 in 8, right?  But I still felt a bit weird, hanging around these fertile couples like I was one of them.  I mean, I am having a baby.  But gosh, getting to this class was a very different experience for us than it probably was for them.  I've stopped telling everyone I meet that we had to do ART to have a baby - most people don't seem to know what to say or seem not to care or seem uncomfortable.  But I also feel like a little bit of a fraud, pretending I'm some sort of normal pregnant person.

Adding to this experience - we found out this weekend that friends of ours are expecting at the end of September.  In January, the husband in the couple told Jeeves that he and the wife were going to start trying and hoped to have a baby in 2014.  Jeeves and I sort of snorted at the hubris.  When we started trying back in 2012, we didn't tell anyone, because what if it took a long time?  Well, apparently at the point that the husband told Jeeves that they had started trying, they were already pregnant (they just didn't know yet).  That's right, first month out of the gate.  

We had dinner with them this weekend, and they are definitely a little out of their depth.  I felt badly for her.  She has so much fear.  She has as much fear as I did, she has as much fear as women who have had multiple miscarriages, but none of that has happened to her.  She told me about her mother (she's an only child) who had multiple miscarriages and a stillbirth before she was finally able to have my friend.  She told me about other people she knows who have experienced pregnancy loss, and about how she hears horrible stories through her work (she works at a hospital).  I said to her, "And you think that if such terrible things happened to those people, why shouldn't they happen to you?  Because you're not any better than they are?"  She nodded.  I pointed out that at the point she is at (16 weeks), yes, bad things can still happen, but the likelihood is very low, and that hopefully once she starts feeling the baby move, she will start to relax a little.  And hey, we all know fairness has nothing to do with this.  Sometimes people get pregnant right away and never have a miscarriage.  Sometimes it takes someone years and years and hundreds of thousands of dollars and they will never have a living child.  

I admitted to Jeeves last night that while I did not wish infertility on these friends, and I think it's great that they are having a baby, I still feel bitterness when people I know become pregnant right away without any struggle.  He understood.  I'm not sure if that feeling will ever really go away.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I still enjoy talking to fertiles about their kids and what not, and it was pleasant to swap stories and anxieties with my fertile friend, but I still felt that twinge of "Well, isn't that just lovely for them!  It's not fair it's not fair it's not fair!" when I first heard they were expecting.  Getting pregnant has healed a lot, but it will probably never heal that.

After our birthing class (which was located in our old neighborhood), we had some time to kill before meeting our friends for dinner.  We walked over to the park in our old neighborhood.  This is the park where I used to pick up our CSA veggies last summer.  As you may or may not recall, last summer, in June, I had a D&C for my missed miscarriage, and then took the summer off from treatment while we awaited the results of karyotyping and blood clotting disorders.  There were a lot of fun things last summer that go along with not doing treatment (all the iced coffee and wine I could drink!), but it was also a summer that was sad and painful.  One of the things that made it hard was that every week when I would go to the park to pick up our veggie and fruit share, there would be hundreds of adorable screaming children running around on the playground right by the pick up stand.  And so many of the other share members were women with babies.  Or pregnant women.  It was rough.  But it really was a beautiful park.

So, we went to the park, and the huge grassy expanse is currently a giant dirt patch.  I guess the polar vortex got to it.  It was a beautiful day, and Jeeves and I sat on a bench and watched the little kids run around, screaming and playing.  Something that a year ago caused me a lot of pain was just a really happy, joyful sight.  It made me feel excited for the life inside me, and for once it didn't make me feel like The Other, the person who does not belong.  I'm sure I will have moments after Manuji is born where I will not relate to other parents, either because I have a different philosophy, or because I'm infertile.  I'm sure it will sting when people ask if we're going to have more kids.  But it's also amazing to see how much he has already healed me, and he's not even here yet.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

So, in theory there will be a baby here in 10 weeks

We moved!  The move itself generally went quite well.  We  had to be in our new place by 5pm.  The movers arrived at 7:30am, packed up the entire contents of our apartment by 1:30pm, and had everything into the new apartment by 4:30pm.  The problem started after the movers left.  "Where are the glasses?" I wondered.  They took over a day to find.  "Any idea where our pillows are?"  Basically, everything got labeled with a generic "Kitchen" or "Master Bedroom" label.  Makes it tough to find specifically what you're looking for. This was especially a problem for our flatware, to the point where on Friday Jeeves had to bring plastic cutlery home from work because we had nothing to eat with. In the end, the flatware was in a box labeled "food."  So, my advice to you would be that if you ever hire movers to also do the packing, follow them around and maybe label the boxes with some specifics.

Anyway, this is the first move I've made in my adult life where I am moving between equivalent spaces as opposed to moving into something bigger.  Yes, we have the second bedroom, but the master bedroom is much smaller than our old bedroom, and we have a lot less closet space.  In the end, we've definitely gained square footage, and we got rid of some old furniture, but we still have a lot of stuff and the end result is that as we unpack, we have to really think about where things are going.  

That, combined with the fact that I am 30 weeks pregnant, means that unpacking is going slowly.  I would highly recommend that if you need to move when pregnant, do it in the second trimester, if you can.  We didn't really have a choice here, but oh man.  I just feel like the biggest dummy.  I am so easily exhausted, bending over boxes makes my sciatica hurt, I huff and puff for air.  Basically I unpack a box, and then I have to rest for half an hour.  It's very frustrating.  I just want to get it all done!  Now!  But I can't.  I went to work today and was like, "Oh wow, work is much more relaxing than being home."

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, I was thinking of all the stuff we have to do before Manuji comes.  I still have to pre-register at the hospital and take a hospital tour. Our birthing class is this weekend.  We have to choose a pediatrician and meet him or her.  The baby's room is currently filled with boxes of our crap - how's it going to be ready in time?  What about the infant CPR class, when are we taking that?  Are we getting a car?  When will we have time to get one?  I want to put wall decals up in the baby's room - which ones should I get and when will we put them up?  Am I going to be a huge failure at breast feeding?  How am I going to make it to 40 weeks when I'm already having trouble doing much of anything at 30 weeks?  Did I mention that the only things we actually own for the baby right now are a couple of outfits (gifts from friends) and a copy of the book Corduroy from Wendy?  So, our baby will not be naked for at least 2 days and will have a book to read.... and that's it.

I know, I know.  It will all somehow get done.  But it's getting very real - Manuji is going to be here very soon (I don't want to jinx it, I know things can still go horribly wrong, but I'm hopeful that we will actually have a baby to bring home in the end).

Dad is okay.  He started chemo again today.  I did not go with him.  While we were talking this afternoon, a few things came up regarding how he is feeling physically and some issues with colostomy supplies that made me wish for the umpteenth time that he were in assisted living, and that also made me feel badly about not being there to take care of him.  Part of me wanted to rush out there and start making phone calls for him. But physically, I just can't do it.  And I know some of my feelings are very co-dependenty and I need to remind myself that Dad is an adult and if things go wrong he may have to go into a nursing home or what have you, but it's not my job to fix everything for everyone.  Still.  It's hard to feel like Dad is coming to the end of the line.

Sorry if this post is moany groany.  Not my intention.  I really do love our new apartment.  My commute to work is a piece of cake.  I ate some really great pancakes this weekend.  And some good ice cream too.  Deep breaths.  Deep breaths. 


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Hoarder and the Purger

So, this Thursday is the big move!  To Brooklyn!  I'm sad to leave the apartment we lived in for four years, where we lived when we got engaged, married, infertile, etc.  I can't say it's the apartment where Manuji was conceived, because that probably happened on the subway ride home from my RE's office, or maybe even while I was at the dentist getting my teeth cleaned following insemination.  Romantic!  But still, this was the apartment where we lived when I found out I was pregnant, and then had a miscarriage.  And the apartment where we lived when we found out I was pregnant again, and where we felt him kick for the first time.  So, a lot of memories, and I'm sad to leave our home.  But I'm also really happy to leave it because I'm excited for our new place.

We are hiring packers/movers, thank goodness.  But even when someone else is going to pack and move your shit for you, you do need to go through and purge.  I consider Jeeves to be a bit of a hoarder.  He gets really upset when I call him that.  But come on - he found credit card bills from 1998.  How is that not kind of hoard-y?  Under our bed, we have two storage boxes.  One is mine, and one is his.  In "my" storage box is all of our wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbon, Christmas cards - in other words, shared stuff that we both use when we need to wrap a gift or send a Christmas card to someone.  What do you think was in Jeeves' box?  Your guess would be as good as mine because all I can tell you about it is that it is very, very heavy and when I asked him what was in it, he looked around innocently and admitted he did not know. 

For a long time, I have teased him about this, but never really been a huge bitch about it.  But then something happened.  When I moved in with my dad, I put almost the entire contents of my apartment into a storage unit, and then I promptly ignored it for several years.  I did manage to unearth a few important things when I moved in with Jeeves, but mostly the stuff just sat there.  In December, we finally cleaned out the storage space and sent almost the whole thing to Junk Luggers.  I left the storage facility with some books, a couple of collapsible wood bookshelves, and a few things from my kitchen and a box of photos.  Everything else - there was just no room in our home, so I had to let it go.  In some ways it was liberating, but it also made me sad, because that stuff had made up my home and my life for 8 years.  Most of the things in our home now are Jeeves', not mine.  We've been trying slowly to get more furniture that is "ours" and let's be honest - the kitchen stuff is mine, all mine, but still.  After having to purge all my stuff, I've become extremely unsympathetic to any hoarding tendency in my husband.  

To that end, we picked out a few problem spots for him to work on (one of which was that mystery underbed storage box), and likewise, I had stuff I had to work on too.  So, the weekend was spent sorting and purging, and Jeeves did an amazing job of getting rid of stuff.  I suspect there will be more to toss when we reach our new home, but at least we've made some headway.  Oh, and the mystery storage box?  Pretty much every piece of travel ephemera he has collected dating back to his backpacking trip 14 years ago.  


I'm 29 weeks today.  I only have 76 days to go.  We're taking our birthing class next weekend.  A lot of the girls in my pregnancy group were commenting about the return of fatigue.  I wasn't really having an issue with that at all, and then the second I hit 28 weeks, I was exhausted again - can't keep my eyes open at work, quickly tire from small tasks.  I also find it's getting harder to breathe deeply.  Oh, and the iron supplement I'm taking for my anemia is wreaking havoc on my digestive system.  But honestly, all those things are pretty tolerable - the things I hate most, the reflux and palpitations, are currently on hiatus.  We'll see how long that lasts.


My dad has continued to improve at home, to the point where he is now talking about getting rid of his home health aide.  He's a stubborn old man who refuses to let anyone help him (except, apparently, me) and so he makes no use of the aide.  He's an adult and he can make his own decisions, although I obviously don't approve of him just going back to the way things were before he went into the hospital.  And yet that's exactly what's happening.  I have more thoughts on this, and how I've reacted to it, but I'll save that for another post.  My sister on the subject: Fine, he doesn't want the aide, let him get rid of the aide.  But when he gets sick again, he's going into assisted living.  The end.  At this point, that will fall on her shoulders, probably, and I'm not inclined to disagree with whatever she decides to do given the fact that Dad is so stubborn about having help in his own home.  My conclusion is this - after talking about it with Wendy yesterday, all I can say is that I have done the very best I could.  I tried to set things up so that Dad could stay in his home for as long as possible.  If he wants to undo those things, I can't stop that.  And now it's time to focus on my new home, my husband, my job, and the birth of my son.